A new lead turns up old doubts about an ‘Unsolved Case’. A trap, or a copycat killer? In this co-op puzzle game prequel to the award-winning Cryptic Killer series, put on your detective badges as you collaborate and communicate to crack the codes, solve the riddles, and catch the Cryptic Killer.
Date Played: April 2023
Number of Players: 2
Time Taken: 30 mins
Although we became very familiar with digital escape rooms over the course of the pandemic, it’s been a while since I’ve played one. Last year I covered “Parallel Lab” by Eleven Puzzles, and greatly enjoyed it, so when I saw they had just released a new (free!) game, I absolutely had to play it. This is actually the first part of a larger game set to be released soon, which is even more exciting!
Much like their previous game, this game requires two players on separate devices. This game actually supports cross-device playing, which meant I was able to Skype my mum and play on my computer, while she used her iPad, which she is more used to than playing on a computer. Part of the reason I love the Eleven Puzzles games so much is their ease of play – you are not tied to what the other person is doing and are fairly free to roam and interact as you like, and the gameplay is pretty much just point and click, so no tricky key combinations to figure out – any difficulty is just about the puzzles themselves!
In ‘Unsolved Case’ we return to the partnership of Ally and Old Dog, who have just received a mysterious briefcase each in their own apartments. These apartments happen to be fairly similar, and hold all the clues needed to crack the case open…
All the puzzles in this game require cooperation, not just one or two. However, they’re also unique and creative in the way they require this teamwork. Certain puzzles may require you to do the same thing, with different results, while others require the sharing the information. One thing I noted as we played was how well-balanced these puzzles were – I never felt like I was missing out on the ‘aha’ moments, and similarly didn’t feel I was encountering them all. If there was ever a puzzle where I felt my mum was having all the fun, there was soon to be a similar puzzle where the role was reversed (although different enough that it wasn’t a cut-and-paste).
example with minor spoiler
At one point there is a puzzle that required my mum to essentially work out a maze (I think), and all I did was click a button to go left, right or forward. However, there was also a similar puzzle where I had to figure out which ‘doors’ to open or close and all my mum had to do was click a button with specific colours on. It’s a great example of balancing the gameplay with similar experiences, without it feeling identical.
In fact, I thought a lot of the puzzles were really well done – they were all creative while still being logical, if not too simple. At each stage, there is a padlock to unlock the next part of the story, with icons clearly showing which puzzles to solve to find the numbers. This meant we knew what we were doing and worked our way through each, even directly affecting each other’s rooms while doing so, which was a really fun.
I really enjoyed playing this – the playability was easy, puzzles were fun and interesting and it’s got a neat, comic book style. It’s a shame it was so short, but as it’s free I think this is a minor point! I would also say it would’ve been nice if there were slightly more independent puzzles too, to make it slightly less linear and bring a little more freedom. Overall though this is a really fun game to play, especially if your teammate is long distance, and I can’t wait to play the full game when it’s released soon!